Pesticola War 2.

The Govt of India has caved in to the MNC pressure. Coca-Cola and PesiCo are given clean chit by the health ministry.

This was actually expected. A Govt that cared for the health of its people,
especially children, would certainly have notified the standards that
the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has formulated and finalized in
response to the directive from The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) set up in 2003,
instead of dismissing the findings of the Centre for Science and Environment
(CSE) as lacking “scientific and statistically valid basis”.

“The current study was conducted by the same Pollution Monitoring Laboratory
of CSE, which had tested samples in 2003. It will be recalled that the
two soft drink companies had raised numerous issues regarding the
veracity of the CSE study and the capabilities of its laboratory staff,
which were scrutinised and debunked by JPC in its report. The JPC
endorsed the methodology and the findings of the 2003 CSE study. This
time, further improvements have been made. Firstly, the laboratory is
now accredited with ISO 9001:2000 quality management system. Secondly,
the laboratory has confirmed the presence of the pesticides using an
expensive and state of art equipment — the GC-MS. “We have fully
complied with the JPC directions and are even more confident about our
findings,” says Chandra Bhushan, associate director at CSE.”

The CSE has been emphasizing from the beginning that their target is not
the two soft drink giants, but the Govt of India, which they felt had
been backtracking on the issue of notifying the safety standards. The
two soft drink MNCs have been opposing the move. The latest tests by
the CSE and the publication of their results on Aug 2, 2006 were
intended to sensitize the Govt and the public alike about the harmful
pesticide levels present in the popular colas and the health problems
they will cause to the consumers.

Suddenly the issue snowballed into a highly sensitive problem of national importance and a major crisis for the two domineering global brands.

The Govt’s clean chit is only going to worsen the situation for Coke and
Pepsi, which are seen by the public as the symbols of marauding MNCs.
It’s a new India where information spread like wild fire through scores of TV channels, numerous newspapers and phone networks.

One of the latest news reports reads: Several citizens’ groups including environmentalists and
parliamentarians on Wednesday joined hands and called for a ban on soft
drinks manufactured by MNCs Pepsi and Coke, which have been given a
clean chit by the government.”

The news report says that various citizen movement groups have “charted a three-month protest programme
throughout the country wherein they will go to schools and colleges in
both villages and cities to educate them about the hazardous effects of
consuming colas.

“The programme also includes a week-long complete blockade of all transport facilities for the cola products in November.

The protests are being organised under the banner “Coke Pepsi Quit India”.”

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